Inspired by Rick Spence’s call for startup advice/anecdotes I sent him an email with this thought, “put yourself out there.” (There was a bit more to it, otherwise I would expect Rick to hit delete rather quickly.)
The gist of the idea is that entrepreneurs can’t be afraid of reaching out to people; even people they would otherwise never think to talk to. Celebrities. Big shots in their industry. Power players. A-listers. Super cool dudes that seem to be uber-successful. If you think there’s a valuable reason to contact someone, do it. They were once starting out just like you, and I bet many of them got their break through someone more successful than them.
Thinking about this some more, I realized that “being an entrepreneur is like dating.”
You have to make yourself available and seek people out.
You can’t be afraid of rejection or being ignored.
You have to approach people properly.
You have to bring something of value to the table in exchange for someone’s attention.
You have to put effort into the budding relationship.
I’ve been rejected many, many times. No I’m not a hunchback or too ill-mannered, it’s just a fact of life. Maybe I could be a bit prettier. Actually, I was talking about in business…
Since IGotNewsForYou launched back in April I’ve sent out hundreds of emails to people about the project, possible partnerships, idea exchanges, etc. I’ve emailed people I admire, people I found online, friends, contacts, contacts’ contacts, etc. Lots of people have ignored me completely. Personally, I think that’s extremely rude, but fair enough, they might see it as a “pitch” and everyone’s busy. Many more have written the curt “thank you” email, and it goes no further.
But there’s been quite a few that have engaged me in valuable dialogue and been an immense help. People that I never knew have helped in a lot of ways. Some of those people are fairly high profile in their respective fields; but they still took the time to help me, recognizing the value in building more quality relationships.
When I thought about whether or not I should contact them, my answer almost always was, “Why not?” I followed my entrepreneurship-dating rules above and went at it. I put myself out there.
You can do the same. If people ignore you, so what, you didn’t need them anyway. But those that don’t ignore you can become invaluable to your success. So go get ’em.